Hey, I’m part of the economic impact of the meetings industry! Not the groundbreaking report itself, but certainly the trends and conclusions it illuminated. Yesterday, the city of Charlotte, N.C., announced the results of a study that measured the full value of hosting the 2012 Democratic National Committee (DNC) last September: $91 million in direct spending and $72.6 million in indirect spending, for a total of $163.6 million.
Those are some big numbers — representing the largest single event in Charlotte’s history — and I’m happy to say I did my part. Or PCMA and Convene did, because they’re the ones who sent me to cover the DNC in person — a pretty amazing experience (in a way having nothing to do with politics) that I blogged about here and here, and that I wrote about for the cover story in our November issue.
One thing I didn’t write about was my experience staying outside Charlotte and commuting into the city for the three days I was in town for the DNC. With hotel space at a premium, I ended up booking a room at the Hampton Inn Salisbury, about 40 miles northeast of downtown. PCMA is a nonprofit and we always try to watch our expenses, so I did what I could to minimize the $100 taxi rides from my hotel to Charlotte’s convention district. One morning I booked a Greyhound-bus ticket, which involved taking a cab from my hotel in Salisbury to the bus terminal — actually a convenience store in nearby East Spencer, N.C. The next afternoon I took an Amtrak train down to Charlotte that left from the cute, out-of-history train station in downtown Salisbury.
I’ll always be more of a city person, but when it was time to come home, I liked the sense that I had seen something of North Carolina — not just its major metropolis, but also the farm country and the small towns and the nice, welcoming people that surround it — and that I had spread some small measure of the DNC’s economic impact more widely than I might have.